Chinese-built motorcycles have already come a long way from being the cheap and disposable small bikes they were known as in the past. Through strategic partnerships and improvements in manufacturing, the Chinese manufacturers are also starting to build an arsenal of fine big bikes, ranging from the 400-800cc class and soon, liter bikes (1000cc and above).
The Venturi 500 at General Nakar-Dingalan Pass, overlooking Dingalan Bay.
For starters, we had experienced the Bristol Classic 400i not too long ago which included a 1,200-kilometer Ironman Endurance Challenge. We were really pleased with how the bike performed. When our friends from Bristol Motorcycles Philippines informed us of their (then) upcoming adventure bike, we immediately jumped in and got involved with the initial evaluation of their new bike. That bike is the Bristol Venturi 500 adventure bike.
The Bristol Venturi 500 is powered by a parallel-twin, liquid-cooled, 471cc cc DOHC engine with 6-speed transmission and chain as final drive. It produces pretty decent power for its displacement of 47.5 Ps at 8,500 rpm with a torque output of 43 Nm at 6,500 rpm. Compression ratio is only at 10.7:1 — meaning that if the situation calls for it (e.g.: if you're in a remote area where premium gasoline is unavailable) the engine can handle regular unleaded gasoline without any problems.
Features and electronics
For its price tag of only PhP358,000, the Venturi 500 is packed with gizmos that may not be offered by some of the Japanese motorcycles in the same price bracket. For instance, some Japanese motorcycle models do not offer a dual front disc brakes, whereas it is standard on the Venturi 500. An anti-lock braking system (ABS) is also standard, with the option to disable the rear only or both front and rear, which is favored by the more experienced riders especially when riding off-road.
The Venturi 500 also features 2 ride modes: Safe Mode and Normal Mode. It is also equipped with a combination analog-digital instrument panel, LED park lights, and USB and power socket.
For some serious adventure riding, it has adjustable KYB front and rear shock absorbers, crash bars, a skid plate and optional side panniers and top case. The Venturi 500 is also equipped with a 21-liter fuel tank.
While we're no scientists and this is not an objective test, I could safely say that this bike took a pretty good beating while it was on loan with MotoPinas.com. First, we took it to the muddy and often difficult General Nakar-Dingalan Pass that gave it the honor of the first-ever big bike to traverse the pass and back.
Then, we took the Venturi 500 to an adventure ride to the (then) unpaved roads of Mapita, in Aguilar, Pangasinan. The road we took on, if I'm not mistaken, is part of the Daang Kalikasan highway.
Participating in the 2020 BOSS Ironman 24-hour Motorcycle Challenge with the Venturi 500.
If that's not enough, we also took the Venturi 500 to this year's BOSS Ironman 24-hour Motorcycle Challenge, where this bike finished the 1,200-kilometer route in 17 hours.
Like a sweet dessert after a sumptuous meal, together with riders donning their BMW 1250 GS bikes, we then took the Venturi 500 on an adventure ride to Luzon's highest peak, Mt. Pulag, and down to the rich and fertile backroads of Benguet, to the new highest point of the Philippine Highway System in Tinoc – which by the way was done within 24 hours of continuous riding.
On our way to the historic Tirad Pass, at Gregorio del Pilar, Ilocos Sur.
We then brought the Venturi 500 to this year's KTM Orange Rally at the beautiful beaches of Unisan, Quezon. Last but not the least, the Venturi 500 was also the first-ever big bike to reach the highest permitted motorable portion of the historic Tirad Pass, just last February.
What I like
After clocking almost 6,000 kilometers on this bike, I liked how the adjustable KYB suspension worked, especially during off-road riding. The Venturi 500 also prides itself with its nice low-end torque that is perfect for off-roading. Clutch pull is light, which is comparable to most Honda motorcycles. Its 19-inch front and 17-inch tubeless wire wheels make it a bonafide adventure bike. Its seat height is only 820mm while the wet weight is only at 178 kilograms. It feels like the weight is distributed evenly (not top-heavy), especially when riding off-road. It has an excellent fuel economy average of 28 kilometers per liter when cruising at 80 kilometers per hour, which hypothetically means, it can go as far as 588 kilometers in one top-up. Just like the more expensive R 1250 GS, the Venturi 500 also offers decent wind protection which a rider will appreciate during long adventure rides. The Venturi 500 has a very nice and comfortable seat for the rider, coupled with nice ergonimics that would not tire the rider on long, multi-day rides. Finally, the price tag is very affordable at only PhP358,000.
The Bristol Venturi 500 can also be a good learner adventure bike for women who want to share the adventure rides with their husbands. This is because the power delivery is not at all intimidating, but at the same time powerful enough to pull the bike to 170 kilometers per hour. It's also worth mentioning that the seat height is not too high, particularly for female riders with short inseams.
All packed up and ready for adventure.
After subjecting the Bristol Venturi 500 to some serious off-roading, long-distance adventure riding and even endurance riding, I must say that we were really impressed with the bike's performance and reliability. After all this punishment, the bike only suffered one missing and one broken bolt.
For us experienced riders, its low-seat, balanced weight, with nice low-end pull means that we can take the Venturi 500 to places where bigger and heavier adventure bikes wouldn't dare venture.
*Special thanks to EnduroPH for the awesome photos taken during our Mt. Pulag adventure ride.